Category Archives: RFamily

Alternative Collectibles: Found & Made

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Sometimes the hunt for unique found items is an important part of the experience. So, while on your next trip consider these alternative items/collections!

Natural found items could include:

  • Rocks or shells found on walks.
  • Sand to be saved in small containers from each beach around the state, country or world.
  • Driftwood for a mantel display.
  • Leaves for each annual fall trip-pressed and assembled in an album.

Made items assembled with a common theme could include:

  • A photograph using the same location: city limit signs, franchise, pose, etc.
  • A journal or doodle pad with drawings, quotes from people met along the way or funny stories of mishaps.
  • Travel boxes, scrapbook, photo album, etc.
  • Homemade passport (made before or after a trip). Have business owners, clerks or tour guides to sign off inside.
  • Insert HERE any unique or creative way to display, reuse or re-purpose something found along the way;)

Tip: Think of connecting these collectibles to your bucket list, i.e. travel to the top 10 surfing beaches in the world and bring home sand from the beach. Or collect leaves during a fall foliage tour in New England. Hike/rock climb in national parks across the country or in your home state-search for unique rocks that signify to geomorphology of the area.

Collections: What’s in Your Basket?

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Stores are often brimming with ideas on travel collectibles such as key chains, snow globes, bells, spoons, city catalogs, letter openers, postcards, etc. I remember traveling to the Czech Republic a few years ago and when I entered a tourist shop on the corner of a cobblestone street in Old Prague.  I ended up selecting 2 or 3 of the more common gift items. The clerk at the counter rolled his eyes. Apparently he thought I missed out on the more unique one-of-a- kind treasures tucked away in a corner. Although I was very happy with my letter opener, 3D postcard and chocolate gift-box; It got me thinking about collectibles.  Is there something more I should or could collect when I travel?

I am not sure there is a simple and quick answer to this question. But, I know that you should buy or save what you love!  Find it, make it, create with it…your options are limitless.

Tips for Travel Collectibles:

  • Try to make it reflective of who you are?
  • You will have to store your treasures-think of how and where?
  • How you will be able to transport the item from point A (your vacation spot) to point B (home).
  • A collection can be similar items at each location displayed as a group or  a singular unique piece(s) that are scattered throughout your home.
  • Try to think of creative ways to assembled a collection using bought and/or found items.

Gifted Travel Treasures: A Parisian Painting

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Image by DarkRose42 some rights reserved

Image by DarkRose42 some rights reserved

As a sophomore in college; I wanted to study abroad in Toulouse which is located in southern France.  I had a passion for the french culture and language after studying five years both in high school and post secondary. For many reasons, some outside of my control, I never studied abroad. And as a result, I stopped my studies and refocused on a very different career path.

Years later I took a trip to Paris in July. Alongside the Sacre Coeur, I wandered through what I refer to as an artist’s quarter. It was a street exhibit area filled with stands brimming with art. I searched for an original drawing or painting to commemorate finally arriving in France. But, the time passed too quickly and I was late returning to the tour group. I never found my treasure that day.

The following Christmas my brother and his wife came to visit for the holidays. They handed me a small rolled canvas brought back from their recent trip to France and the same artist’s quarter. To my surprise, it was a one of a kind, impressionist style painting. The image was of couples around the early 1900’s (based on attire) walking along a lamp lit street. The Eiffel Tower was projected in the background-washed in a warm sunset.

Whether you are an avid or a novice traveler there is something enduring about acquiring tangible items to reflect our intangible experiences. RTreasures can be bought by and for ourselves. Or for others with the intent as simple as a thinking of you gift or something with extreme intrinsic value. Today, this small Parisian painting is still one of my most prized possessions! And it reminds me of my trip, that one choice can change the future, and how blessed I am to have family.

I invite you to share your stories in the comment section.

RTravel Apps: European Exploration: The Art of Discovery!

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Image by Smabs Sputzer some rights reserved

Image by Smabs Sputzer some rights reserved

GAMeS Lab at RU has launched a free app for young explorers called European Exploration: The Art of Discovery made available through iTunes. This application allows little travelers (ages 4+)  to role play as 15th Century captains responsible for everything from hiring a crew to building their ships. While sailing around the world the game introduces historical content intended to increase awareness and knowledge about various locations around the world. I love that although these are fictional voyages, the process instills pragmatic skills helpful even in modern day explorations; the art of cartography, the importance of money management, the ability to navigate problems that arise during a trip, etc.  When you are ready-click here to launch your (or your child’s) first voyage!

*Rate this app in the comment section below!

After Effects of Pinterest!

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Some rights reserved by MKH Marketing

Some rights reserved by MKH Marketing

In March 2010, the first beta (prototype) site for Pinterest was launched with limited access to a small group of professional colleagues, along with close friends and family, of it’s co-founders. The purpose of the site was to allow users to bookmark or “pin” images, videos, etc. in which they found of “interest” to virtual bulletin boards, categorized by themes. By February 2013, Pinterest boasted more than 48 million users and was valued at $2.5 billion dollars (Reuters).

As a novice photographer, I am completely enthralled by this site. The images “pinned” on the travel board are nothing short of breathtaking. They epitomize ” idealistic” settings beneath secret waterfalls,  resorts nestled on top of mountains, castles that seem to have grown from the earth, exotically staged gardens in hidden corners all over of the world. Although I am sure that some are computer enhanced, they are of an amazing quality that would be difficult to emulate. Although perfection is in the eye of the beholder, these images are almost an adult traveler’s version of a fairy-tale that is often a stark contrast to what most people see when they gaze out their kitchen windows.  First, I would like to thank Pinterest travel contributors who have given anyone with internet, access to an incredible trip to utopia.

Utopia =  an ideal place or state a (dictionary.com.)

One reason why people travel is to seek inspiration. The scenes that lay before us in our travels do not always generate a feeling of safety nor are they always idealistic. But they can be!  The word utopia was first mentioned in 1516 by author Sir Thomas More, “Utopia” as a fictional place.  I believe that some people travel in search of a modern-day (non-fiction) utopia of sorts!  I am not sure what it would be like to actually live in or next to these places?  But for this week, whether it is raining, snowing or the sun is shining in your corner of the world, take a moment and travel virtually with Pinterest.  Be awe-inspired!

 

Suggested Reading for Traveling Families

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This week, RCompass points to a must have book, for those brave parents traveling with kids, “How to fit a car seat on a camel,” by Sarah Franklin. The author talks about the adventures and misadventures of traveling with children-serving as a reminder of what it means to travel with kids both young and old.  Click here to view more of her insightful book.

Feel free to share your misadventures in the comment section below!

RAdventure

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Although there are many families that successfully travel with children of all ages, I believe there is a magical point in which a child holds onto memories-processing and reinterpreting their surroundings and experiences more fluently.  When, exactly does this occur? I imagine it is different for every child. I am also sure that the field of developmental psychology has studied this concept extensively. But for me I saw the signs of a pending traveler after taking a mini trip with my extended family in October.  I noticed how excited my son was simply exploring eclectic shops, trying new restaurants and sightseeing. We openly debated if we should plot out the day or make a definitive choice to wander freely.  I took it as a sign-he was finally old enough to begin composing his personal inventory of places traveled.

As a part of my 2013 New Year’s resolution to make connections with family; I felt the need to create what I hope will become a new tradition. Beginning 2013, we (my son & I) will plan 1 unique get-away each year until he graduates from School (9 trips in all)!

Here were the parameters I chose to set:

–          It will include a minimum of one stay overnight,
–          Two thirds of the trip destinations will be located within the United States
–          The first trip will be announced on his birthday in June,
–          He must successful pass each grade and all subjects,
–          Variety will be key

  • Use different modes of transportation (train, boat, bus, plain, automobile, etc.)
  • Identify types of travel (alternative vs. mass)
  • Explore diverse sights (historical, natural, manmade, etc.)
  • Experiment with various travel experiences (adventure, volunteer, etc.)

My Goals:

–          Start simple
–          Establish a tradition
–          Build memories (although I anticipate not all will be positive nor perfect)
–          Incorporate teachable moments
–          Encourage him to set goals
–          Ignite personal connections
–          Enlist my existing knowledge of travel and expand
–          Commemorate another year (school-life-love-family)

 [Layers] tourism degree, transportation planner, new experiences, annual resolutions, birthdays, celebrations, achievements, family, traditions, parenting, goal setting, lifelong learning, and variety.

Travel & Place

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Public (adjective):

1. of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole

2. open to all persons (dictionary.com)

Tourist (adjective):

1. a person on an excursion or sightseeing (dictionary.com)

So the idea behind this post is to make a correlation between developing a strong sense of place within a community and its residual impacts on the tourist’s experience. Because most tourists spend an exorbitant amount of time wandering in, through, and along what is identified as the public realm.

PrintProject for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

PPS has complied a list of 60 of the World’s Greatest Places we (the public) remember most vividly, the places where serendipitous things happen, the places we tell stories about…discover=>